A new study by the Radiological Society of North America shows that frequent computed tomography imaging (CT scans) can increase the risk of certain types of breast cancer. Those with an increased risk of breast cancer include younger women who undergo breast cancer screening on a regular basis.
According to the study, women who undergo nuclear medicine imaging or CT scans of the spine, chest or abdomen are at an increased risk of breast cancer. When these imaging techniques are used, a small amount of radiation will be absorbed by the breast tissue. While the amount of absorbed radiation is very small, chronic exposure to this type of radiation can increase the risk of cancer. According to researchers, breast tissue is highly susceptible to cancers caused by radiation.
Computerized axial tomography uses a certain form of radiation to produce images of a patient’s body. In addition, nuclear medicine uses miniscule amounts of radioactive substances for the imaging of internal organs.
Until this study was released, the impact of radiation exposure on a patient’s risk of breast cancer was unknown. By quantifying the utilization of imaging to the rates of breast cancer among females enrolled in this study, researchers were able to determine a patient’s risk of breast cancer from certain imaging technologies.